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Summary: I talk about how serious Jesus was that we show love to one another; I also give some practical suggestions on living it out.

It’s Not An Option

(Living the Second Greatest Commandment)

January 11, 2002

Intro: If you knew your death was coming soon what would you say to those you love? Watch this clip from the movie “My Life” with Michael Keaton and Nichole Kidman…(This is the scene towards the end of the movie where he is saying goodbye to his infant son while he is sleeping.)

Pretty powerful huh? Let’s read John 15:9-17…” These are the words Jesus spoke to his followers not long before he was to be killed on the cross. He is giving his valedictorian address, his farewell speech. JN 15:9 "As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. 10 If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. 11 I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete. 12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit--fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”

Jesus is getting them prepared vertically and horizontally, shaping them up to live responsibly with God and with man before he leaves this world. He’s talking about abiding on the vine but also loving one another. He is putting supreme importance and weight to those two things. IN Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus is asked what the greatest commandment is. Jesus responds that it is to love God and the second is like it, love your neighbor as yourself. The focus of this message will be on the second greatest commandment.

Transition: Jesus is serious about our loving one another. Look at what John 15:17 says, “This is my command: Love each other.”

1). It is not an option! 1 John 4:21 says, “An he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.” If you choose to be a follower of Jesus loving each other is not an option. It’s a commandment. It’s not just any commandment but the second greatest or important. Will you turn to the person next to you and say, “I’m commanded to love you.” Then say, “You’re commanded to love me.”

ILLUSTRATION: Have you heard the story about the actor who was playing the part of Christ in the Passion Play in the Ozarks? As he carried the cross up the hill a tourist began heckling, making fun of him, & shouting insults at him. Finally, the actor had taken all of it he could take. So he threw down his cross, walked over to the tourist, & punched him out. After the play was over, the director told him, "I know he was a pest, but I can’t condone what you did. Besides, you’re playing the part of Jesus, & Jesus never retaliated. So don’t do anything like that again." Well, the man promised he wouldn’t. But the next day the heckler was back worse than before, & finally the actor exploded & punched him out again.

The director said, "That’s it. I have to fire you. We just can’t have you behaving this way while playing the part of Jesus." The actor begged, "Please give me one more chance. I really need this job, & I can handle it if it happens again." So the director decided to give him another chance.The next day he was carrying his cross up the street. Sure enough, the heckler was there again. You could tell that the actor was really trying to control himself, but it was about to get the best of him. He was clinching his fists & grinding his teeth. Finally, he looked at the heckler & said, "I’ll meet you after the resurrection!" (Contributed by Pastor Melvin Newland via

2). Jesus was serious about us loving one another because it shows we know God!

1John 4:8 says, “Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

You can’t say you know God and refuse to love others. It’s a sign you know him—and know him by experience.

3). Jesus was serious about our loving one another because it reveals whether or not God lives in us. 1John 4:12 says, “No one has ever seen God; but if we love another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” The Message translation says, “No one has seen God, ever. But if we love one another, God dwells deeply within us, and his love becomes complete in us—perfect love!” Does God live in you? He does if you love others.

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